Featuring Photos by Eric Diller
The possibilities are spectacular. It opens up a whole new world of the minuscule. You just have to try it. You’ll need a little persistence though. Top this off with some fairly easy technique and you’ll get it. On occasion you will capture a “wow” moment.
The trouble with macro photography:
- Why are my close ups always out of focus?
- Why can’t I get the focus in the right place?
- Why does the Auto Focus keep zooming in and out?
- What lens should I get for my digital SLR?
Help me please!…and we will. Some tips and inspiration ahead.
Whether you have a point and shoot (fixed lens) or digital SLR camera (interchangeable lenses). The challenges are the about the same.
Marc’s Dragonfly Tip: If you see a dragonfly and it flies away, it’s usually just for a few short seconds. They will almost always return to the exact spot.
Let’s take a look at some photos. Then we’ll discuss techniques and camera feature combinations to have some fun.
Macro Photography by Eric Diller (click any photo to enlarge).
“The best thing about macro photography is that it brings every thing into a new perspective. Being able to get so close to your subject brings a whole new dimension on details. I usually photograph wildlife with a 500mm lens so going to macro is such a big contrast.The fact you have to get so close to your subject makes it even more challenging sometimes. My favorite subjects for macro are dragonflies and Lizards. For me its all about the hunt and waiting patiently for the right moment to capture.” ~ Eric Diller,Web Site: www.ericdiller.com
The main challenge with macro photography is focus.
Tips for Macro Shooting Success More Often
Minimum Focus Distance
- Every fixed lens “point and shoot” camera or digital SLR lens has a minimum focusing distance. If you get closer than that distance, the lens is not capable of clear focus. Know what that distance is by looking in the lens user guide.
Auto Focus Control
- Most every camera will have multiple AF (Auto Focus) points. With macro photography the depth of focus is so thin, getting the focus in the right place is critical. If all AF points are engaged (default) the camera takes a guess on where to focus and even gets confused zooming in and out repeatedly. This is a typical issue with macro shooting. Check your user guide to see how to select an AF point. I’ll suggest you use select the center AF point to start. Now you can use that AF point to target specifically the exact spot to focus. Typically the head or eyes for extreme macro close ups.
- Consider Center Weighted Metering. Combined with the center AF point selected this will better help ensure your subject is well exposed and in focus. Two important technicals for a great shot.
Thin Depth of Field
- You might think you have the focus in the right place and still find the results show other wise. That’s because when you are holding the camera, slight movements and the very thin depth of focus means you might have to try a number of times to get the shot just right. The simple action of depressing the shutter button moves the camera ever so slightly. It’s challenging even for the experienced photographer. For still photos using a tripod, not a problem.
- If you get some great shots of your first tries, you’re lucky. Patience and taking up repeated opportunities will yield you prize shots from time to time.
Simplify with Manual Focus
- If you want to simplify the overall shooting technique. Some point and shoot fixed lens cameras, and all digital SLR lenses can be set to manual focus. For digital SLR lenses, the manual focus switch will be on the lens. Now set the lens yourself to the focus distance you want while looking. Now when shooting, you control where the macro focus falls more precisely by moving slightly back and forth. My preferred way of shooting macro.
Setting the Aperture for Wider Depth of Field
- If you want to have more of the depth of your subject in focus, you can select a higher f-number. But keep an eye on the shutter speed. As you set the aperture to a higher f-number this slows down the shutter speed with each step up.
Every Point and Shoot Fixed Lens Camera has Macro Shooting Mode
- Usually the setting is flower icon on the shooting dial located on the top right of the camera. Switching to this mode further enhances the camera’s close up focus ability.
The Last Step
- Have fun! The best teacher is practice.
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